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Phosa: Afrikaner bodies worried

Afrikaners are worried about the state of governance in South Africa, ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa said on Tuesday.

“There was a feeling that leadership needs to shape up and address the issue of good governance,” Phosa said after a meeting between the ANC and 19 Afrikaans bodies in Johannesburg.

ANC Treasurer General Mathews Phosa. Photo: Independent Newspapers. Credit: Independent Newspapers

He said other issues of concern related to service delivery, especially at local government level, security in urban and rural areas and the position of the Afrikaans language and culture.

Afrikaans groups at the meeting included the Afrikanerbond, the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk, the Voortrekker Monument, the Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging, the Afrikaanse Taalraad and the Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools.

The ANC delegation included Phosa, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina

Joemat-Pettersson and Public Enterprises Deputy Minister Enoch Godongwana.

The convenors of the ANC Progressive Business Forum, Renier Schoeman and Daryl Swanepoel, also attended the meeting.

Phosa said he felt the discussions were going well.

“There were no holy cows... we said talk like you talk in the northern suburbs, don't hide things, we want to hear things,” he said.

“We must embrace them and deal with the issues. We are not here to be buddy-buddy. We made it clear to them we not looking for votes, we are looking at issues that affect the nation... things which worry the nation.”

Phosa said the organisations spoke about their reservations, and said their merit was being undermined by government appointments.

Some raised issues about black economic empowerment.

Phosa said he was touched when one of the organisations spoke about positive citizenship.

“They want to participate, they want to give input into the policies.”

He said the ANC had also raised issues, such as rural security, with the Afrikaans organisations.

“We said, well, there must also be security for farm workers, you must treat them in a humane manner. We (are) giving each other both sides (of the story)... so not one perspective dominates,” said Phosa.

The Freedom Front Plus earlier said the ANC had ulterior motives in holding talks with Afrikaans groups.

“(It) has more to do with the ANC's forthcoming election conference and the political survival of Mr Gwede Mantashe, then it has to do with a real concern for minority groups' and Afrikaans people's interests,” FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder said in a statement.

“Talks with hidden agendas, however, bedevil relationships, break trust between groups and result in nothing.”

He said the FF Plus had always been in favour of talks, and the party's history of talks with the ANC proved that, but he wanted to know what the “sudden interest” was.

“If the objective with the talks is to go gain the political support of minorities for the ANC and to boost individual candidates' images with a view to the ANC's election conference, it is doomed to fail,” said Mulder.

Mantashe said the ANC had an obligation to understand the concerns of Afrikaans bodies in the country.

“Whether they vote for us or not, we have an obligation to understand where they are coming from, and their concerns.”

He said the organisations had voiced some concerns, and wanted to make a contribution to South Africa.

“People want to make a contribution in making South Africa work and making South Africa a better country to live in.”

The Afrikaans language also featured in the discussions.

“What came out was that there is no intention of elevating Afrikaans at the expense of other languages,” Mantashe said.

Phosa and Mantashe said more meetings of this nature would be held and there would be feedback on the progress made.

“Our view is that maybe we should meet more with not only them (Afrikaans groups), but with many other stakeholders in a much more structured and regular way, and give feedback to each other about problems and issues raised in this meeting,” said Phosa. - Sapa

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